Blog : Phoenix Natural Gas

LOCAL CHILDREN’S WISH TO HELP THE HOMELESS IS GRANTED

LOCAL CHILDREN’S WISH TO HELP THE HOMELESS IS GRANTED

Five lucky children from across Northern Ireland are to have their festive wish, an appeal to help the homeless, granted by Phoenix Natural Gas.

Phoenix Natural Gas having called for children who had recently visited the MAC to cast their wish into its Phoenix Wishing Well, pledged to make one come true. Over 1000 wishes were received; some funny, some imaginative and some especially heartfelt. Having reviewed all the entries, it became evermore clear that the one selfless plea from the youngsters was to help the growing number of homeless people on our streets.

The winning wishes were received from Rosie Graham (10) from Ballyclare, Max Holden (6) from Newtownabbey, Rhiana Graham (11) from Armagh and siblings Abigail (9) and Ryan Love (12) from North Belfast, who were at the MAC along with their brother and sisters to present Phoenix Natural Gas’s donation to the Welcome Organisation.

Cathy Magovern, Marketing & Events Manager at Phoenix Natural Gas said, “We were overwhelmed by the number of wishes cast in aid of the homeless in Northern Ireland. Children visiting the MAC over Christmas had the opportunity to wish for anything they desired, yet many chose to sacrifice their wants in aid of those less fortunate – an entirely altruistic act.

“We reached out to the Welcome Organisation in Belfast to see how a donation on behalf of the children could be best utilised. From speaking with them, it became apparent that homelessness is about more than having a roof over your head. People become and stay homeless for a whole range of complex and coinciding reasons. That is why we are delighted to work with the organisation to provide those that visit their centre with essential lifestyle skills through a £1500 donation to help deliver 100 hours of cookery lessons.”

Kieran Hughes, from The Welcome Organisation, said: “The Welcome Organisation is delighted to be able to help the five winners fulfil their Christmas wish to help the homeless thanks to this wonderful initiative by Phoenix Natural Gas and the MAC.

“The £1500 will allow us to provide essential skills for some of the 1,400 homeless people who use our services every year. It will provide our service users with the chance to learn new skills and rediscover old skills that they may never have had the opportunity to do. These skills will help some of the most vulnerable people in our community to have a brighter future.

“We would like to thank Phoenix Natural Gas, the MAC and all the young people made who made their pledge in the Phoenix Wishing Well.”

Anne McReynolds, Chief Executive of the MAC adds: “We are delighted with the positive response to the Phoenix Wishing Well competition and inspired by the generosity of spirit shown by our young theatre goers.”

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OBAMA TO REMAIN PRESIDENT? WISHFUL THINKING!

OBAMA TO REMAIN PRESIDENT? WISHFUL THINKING!

From the mouths of babes; the wishes of children in Northern Ireland has proved to be more inspirational than anyone could have anticipated. For the past four weeks, children from across the province have been casting their final 2016 wishes into the Phoenix Wishing Well at the MAC, Belfast. From Obama remaining President, eating pizza every day, making it rain candy, to the selfless wish to give the homeless somewhere safe and warm to stay this Christmas; local children have provided some of the most imaginative and sincere wishes possible.

The Phoenix Wishing Well has received hundreds of wishes to date, with only a few days left to get involved. From all the wishes cast, Phoenix Natural Gas has promised to make one of these festive wishes come true. So, the hunt for a real unicorn might be on!

Geri Wright, Communications Manager at Phoenix Natural Gas said, “We have been overwhelmed by number of funny, wacky and wonderfully innocent wishes received already. Undoubtedly the most popular wish made by children across Northern Ireland so far has been a trip to Disneyland to meet their favourite characters but what struck me particularly was the number of children wishing to help others this Christmas. I’ve also particularly enjoyed some of the more unusual requests – everything from unicorns to super powers.

“The Phoenix Wishing Well is located on the ground floor of the MAC, Belfast, within the Phoenix Wishing Wood. The wood was created by a team of local artists to provide a sensory experience at the MAC for little ones and families alike. We wanted children to be inspired by the magic of the woodland and get creative with their entries, which they have done. It has surpassed all expectations. After 20 years in Northern Ireland, Phoenix Natural Gas is at the heart of many homes and we are looking forward to making one family’s Christmas wish come true this festive season.”

Here are some of the other wishes that children across Northern Ireland have made:

  1. I wish… to make the world nice and to make it snow
  2. I wish… for food for all the people that don’t have any
  3. I wish… that no one is alone on Christmas day, or ever, but especially Christmas day
  4. I wish… to be a superhero
  5. I wish… it could be Christmas everyday
  6. I wish… for the Syrian war to stop
  7. I wish… for 100 dogs
  8. I wish…to be the government
  9. I wish…I could fly
  10. I wish…for a baby sister this Christmas

The MAC’s Christmas show ‘Pinocchio’, which is sponsored by Phoenix Natural Gas, will run until Sunday 1st January 2017 and this will also mark the close of the Phoenix Wishes competition. Full competition details available at: www.phoenixcompetition.com #PhoenixWishes

PINOCCHIO COMES ALIVE AT THE MAC THIS CHRISTMAS

PINOCCHIO COMES ALIVE AT THE MAC THIS CHRISTMAS

pinocchio-comes-alive-this-christmas-at-the-mac-pic-2This Christmas the MAC, Belfast’s multi award-winning arts venue, is thrilled to introduce a new generation of theatre-goers to the magic of Pinocchio. The modern retelling of the classic tale by the hugely successful children’s theatre company Cahoots NI, is proudly sponsored by Phoenix Natural Gas and will take to the stage over the festive period from Tuesday 29 November until Sunday 1st January 2017.

This is the simple story of a puppet who longed to be a real boy. Searching for a family to call his own, Pinocchio’s adventures take him to school, to The Land of Grand Illusions and ultimately back to his father Gepetto in his quest to become a real boy.

This family musical is perfect for six years plus, but younger audiences will enjoy the live music and the dazzling magic that local company Cahoots NI is renowned for. Directed by Paul Bosco McEneaney, expect thrilling acts of illusion that will leave you bewildered.

Paul explains: “The story starts with us meeting Gepetto, who like every parent, doesn’t always get it right. In his wood cabin one magical day, he begins to work on his latest carving and can’t believe it when that piece of wood begins to talk back. Young audiences will love seeing Pinocchio come to life, literally, on stage.

He then gets into all sorts of mis-adventures and antics but you’ll be willing him to do the right thing along the way. In the end, it’s not about Pinocchio being naughty or telling the odd white lie, but about the age-old truth that children need to discover the world for themselves. We’ve worked hard to create a magical, but realistic world for Pinocchio on stage – we recommend that you keep your eyes peeled as there will be things going on that you just won’t quite believe.”

Speaking about this year’s family show, Simon Magill, Creative Director at the MAC said:

“I’m so pleased that we’re working with Cahoots NI again in this all-new coproduction. We have promised to bring the magic of Pinocchio to local audiences this Christmas at the MAC. It’s a classic tale that many of us are familiar with, but Cahoots NI have done an incredible job in making it their own; this is sure to unlike anything you’ll have seen before.

“As a creative hub for everyone, the MAC works hard to ignite the imaginations of all our visitors from young to old. That’s why we have put lots in place to surround the Christmas show so that from the moment you step into the building, the whole experience is magical. From Gepetto’s log cabin, recreated in our front window to the amazing Phoenix Wishing Wood created by artists on the ground floor where families can place their Christmas wish, there’s lots happening for all ages – much of it free.

So, if you’ve never been before, I’d highly recommend a visit to the MAC over the Christmas period – even just to pop in to check out our free family room and huge Christmas tree, everyone is welcome.”

Cathy Magovern, Marketing Manager at Phoenix Natural Gas, said:

“After 20 years in Northern Ireland, Phoenix Natural Gas is at the heart of many homes and we are delighted to continue to support growing families through sponsoring the MAC’s Christmas production of Pinocchio. It’s an exciting production and a world-class creative venue which we are proud to sponsor this holiday season.

We’re particularly looking forward to opening the very special Phoenix Wishing Wood in the heart of the MAC, as a free experience for families when they visit. Simply make a wish at the Phoenix Wishing Well and Phoenix will be making that wish come true for one lucky child this festive season. Soak up the magic of the MAC as it sparks the imagination to inspire your wishes, and it could be your family having a dream come true this Christmas.”

Tickets for Pinocchio at the MAC are now available, priced at £10 for children and £16-25 for adults. For more information about the show or to book a ticket, visit themaclive.com or call the MAC on (028) 9023 5053.

 

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MAC BELFAST AND PHOENIX NATURAL GAS LAUNCH NEW ARTS AND BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP

MAC BELFAST AND PHOENIX NATURAL GAS LAUNCH NEW ARTS AND BUSINESS PARTNERSHIP

The MAC, Belfast’s award-winning arts venue, and Phoenix Natural Gas, are delighted to announce the details of the MAC’s s comprehensive Christmas programme; the first events programme to be supported by the new title sponsor. The programme this year proves to be even more popular than ever and has already got off to a flying start with a number of dates for the MAC’s family show, Pinocchio, already sold out.

Each year the MAC presents a host of family events for the festive season, that has been one of the key drivers in its increased visitor figures which rose to an impressive 311,000 last year alone, more than 60% of what was forecast for the venue*.

Likewise, Phoenix is marking a milestone year as the company celebrates its 20th anniversary, so the partnership between two of Northern Ireland’s leading brands seemed fitting.

Visitors to the MAC travel from across Northern Ireland and beyond, either as part of the MAC’s learning and outreach programme or as independent gallery visitors and theatre goers.

It seems mad to think about Christmas in June but that’s exactly what the MAC and Phoenix are planning towards.  Now celebrating its fifth Christmas, the MAC has become a place where new family traditions are created.  Many visitors have and will come to see the light switch-on, the unveiling of the magical Phoenix Natural Gas Christmas window and to watch the MAC’s anchor show, Pinocchio co-produced with award-winning theatre company Cahoots NI.

This year is anticipated to be the venue’s biggest year to date regards visitor numbers with the MAC set to welcome over 3,500 school children through its doors and over 10,000 families. Having already achieved 30% of its Christmas ticket sales in May, including seven sell-out school performances, the MAC has developed exceedingly strong relationships with local schools – some of whom are returning for their fifth Christmas visit in the MAC’s short, yet thriving, history.

Anne McReynolds, Chief Executive at the MAC, said:

“We are absolutely delighted to be working with our partners, Phoenix Natural Gas, who are supporting our Christmas programme. A MAC Christmas is something very special and has quickly become a firm tradition for many schools and families across Northern Ireland. 

Just like Phoenix, we share a commitment to providing exceptional service to our customers from Northern Ireland and we look forward to announcing some very exciting plans together very soon.”

 

Michael McKinstry, Chief Executive for Phoenix Natural Gas, said:

“We are very excited about this partnership with the MAC, and as we approach our 20th anniversary this Christmas it gives us a real opportunity to celebrate our commitment to the community that we serve.

“We are very proud of our strong corporate social responsibility programme and we believe that the MAC’s additional programmes of support for communities and schools during the festive period are reflective of our vision and ideals. We look forward to a strong and creative partnership together.”

As part of that partnership, thanks to support from Phoenix, visitors to the MAC can expect to find the enchanting ‘Wishing Wood’ where families will be encouraged to make a wish. Just in time for Christmas, Phoenix Natural Gas will help to make one extra-special wish come true for at least one lucky family.  More details coming soon.

For more information on the MAC or to enquire about the Christmas programme, including the upcoming production of Pinocchio, please visit themaclive.com.

 

*From targets set in the Benefits Realisation Plan in 2011.